Almost 4 years ago, I started a new job as the company’s Salesforce Admin. When I joined, they were on their 5th year with Salesforce. I soon learned that inheriting a Salesforce instance has its benefits…and its challenges.
I often found myself wondering, “If we could start over and implement a new instance of Salesforce, what would we do differently?” I’d note down observations I had when things went well and especially when they didn’t. Over time, my list grew (and was repeatedly validated).
The goal behind the below recommendations is to make life easier as an Admin. While some recommendations may take more time to execute, in the long run, it will make your job and the job of anyone joining your team a whole lot easier.
- Focus on data quality. Decide early on the information you require in order for a Lead, Account, Contact, Opportunity to be created. With Leads and Contacts, I cannot stress enough the importance of a complete company name and contact name with either phone number or email and state or country. Company websites are super helpful, but you can create a custom formula field to extrapolate this info from the email address.
- On the topic of data quality, have a data management strategy to moderate and maintain clean data over time. For example, we had a report on reports not run in the last 6 months. We’d notify users that we are deleting reports and remind them to run the report if they didn’t want it deleted.
- Use that Description field. Every time you create a custom field, report, dashboard, workflow rule, etc., make sure you fill out the Description. My recommendation is to include why it was created (especially if it was requested by a specific person or team, include that). This information is super helpful down the road when trying to figure out why you have this or that and what you need to keep or can delete.
- When creating custom fields, be careful about the field type. Multi select picklists are difficult to report on. With picklists, select the option to “restrict the options to picklist values” and if you do offer an “other” option, create a dependent text field to capture that info. Also, if you plan to use in-line editing in list views, be aware that certain field types aren’t supported (long text area, rich text, checkbox, etc).
- Turn on Field History Tracking. You can select certain fields to track on each object. Best practice is to track ownership fields, fields important for compliance, and anything that impacts a business decision, such as who owns this record. The field history is shown in the object’s Field History related list.
- Have minimal page layouts. When you add a new field or a new app, you have to then add it to the proper section on each page layout, which can be very time consuming. Multiple profiles can share the same page layout, and you can control visibility on a profile by profile level. If you want to hide a field, make it no longer visible in in the Field-Level Security.
- Utilize Record Types. If you have different business processes for a Lead/Account/Opportunity, than consider having different record types for each object. You can set up unique picklist values, sales processes and page layouts for each record type. If you have a sales team going after Enterprise accounts and another going after SBM, consider leveraging record types.
- Create a custom field to indicate what type of deal the Opportunity represents. Is it New Business versus an Upsell versus a Renewal, etc.? I have often leveraged this field when creating validation rules, workflows, process builders, etc. Also consider automating the naming of new Opportunities. We chose to standardize Opportunity names in this format: Country – Company – Record Type – Opportunity Type – Year.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post. This list wasn’t intended to be exhaustive as these are recommendations based on my specific observations over the past couple years. There are many excellent posts of Salesforce best practices, and I encourage you to check those out too.